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I am happy that the public is taking advantage of this new right...

Carole Excell - FOI Coordinator

Published 18th February 2009, 2:16pm

The Cayman Islands Freedom of Information Unit released its report on the first month of operation of the new Freedom of Information (FOI) Law, which became effective on January 5th 2009. Statistics for the initial month are outlined in the report which shows a total of 117 requests for information made during the period January 5th to 31st. The Departments which received the most requests were the Immigration Department (receiving 17 requests) and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (receiving 11 requests). Single-digit requests were made of 38 other offices. The complete report, which includes supporting charts and graphs, may be viewed on the FOI Unitís website (www.foi.gov.ky) or through the government portal (www.gov.ky). Of this first group of FOI requests, more than one-third of them (36 to be exact) have been completed and closed. Public authorities have a maximum of thirty calendar days to make a decision on each request and the decision can be to grant, refuse, or defer access to the information requested. The report details that 12 requests were granted in full, five requests were exempted and two applicants were granted partial access to the information they requested. In addition, four applicants had requested information that was already in the public domain and in eight cases the public authority had no records related to the request. The eight-page January report summarises the total number of FOI requests received by public authorities and gives examples of the types of requests of general interest which were made during the month. The publication also indicates that there were no internal reviews or appeals made during this period. Each public authority also maintains a disclosure log on-line in which requests of general public interest (and the decisions made on these requests) are recorded. FOI Coordinator Carole Excell stated that "I am happy that the public is taking advantage of this new right". She also commended the respective Information Managers who have responded efficiently in the processing of FOI requests. The report includes general FOI applications of interest, including requests for information on the operation of schools in the Cayman Islands, information on the new port development and immigration matters. The report details the number of requests made to each public authority, as well as the outcomes of those requests. For more information about FOI in the Cayman Islands, visit the website at www.foi.gov.ky, or collect a user guide from the office in Elizabethan Square, George Town.